|Funds from Fan Give Lifeline to Bees|
Interest free loan ends Ron Noades' involvement
Life-long Brentford supporter, Matthew Benham, has paid nearly £3 million to Barclays Bank and Altonwood, the company owned by Ron Noades, to buy their loans to Brentford FC.
Matthew Benham, as the owner of Midas Way, lent the Club £500,000 in January 2006 when the supporters trust, Bees United, took-over the majority shareholding from Altonwood. He has now taken over the Barclays £2 million, 15-year loan and paid Altonwood £940,110 for its £1million loan, which has two years left to run. Backed by Bees United, the Club has negotiated that as part of the deal, Ron Noades - through Altonwood - has written off a separate loan of £250,000 that was due for repayment this week.
Under the terms of the new arrangements Matthew Benham has agreed that both loans, totalling nearly £3 million, will be interest free for the next five years.
Greg Dyke, the non-executive Chairman of Brentford and former Director General of the BBC, said: "This is a very welcome boost to the board's efforts to reduce costs and debts and find ways of ensuring the club can survive until we are able to develop a new community stadium with modern facilities.The Club is currently facing an uphill battle to stay in League One and as a business there are some tough challenges to face. Matthew Benham's wonderful gesture will immediately save us over £150,000 per year in interest charges.."
Bees United chairman, Brian Burgess, believes the deal is a vote of confidence in the future of the Club under supporters' control.
"We are extremely grateful to Matthew for his extraordinary generosity" said Burgess. "Brentford fans have always shown their determination to help the club. In the past two months spontaneous fundraising efforts have come up with over £30,000 to help strengthen the squad with loan signings in the January transfer window. The financial situation is tough for a club trying to compete at our level and I call on Bees supporters everywhere to get behind the Club and Bees United to prove that by working together our Club can survive and prosper."
Brentford FC Ltd owns the beneficial interest in the freehold of the stadium at Griffin Park, where it has been playing for over 100 years. Working with commercial development partners the club has developed a regeneration scheme for old railway land at Lionel Road in Brentford that will deliver not only a 20,000 seat stadium for football and rugby with a hotel and conference facilities but also new leisure facilities, a health centre, business centre, education and training and new jobs and housing. This scheme has the backing of the Mayor of London.
In January 2006 Bees United raised £5.5 million of new money to re-finance the club's debts and acquire a 60% shareholding in Brentford FC Ltd from Altonwood, the company owned by Ron Noades. On the back of the good news for the club Bees United have launched a new membership drive. Bees United Director of Communications, Mark Chapman, said, "We appeal to all Brentford supporters to join the Trust; especially to those that may have cancelled their membership prior to what is outstanding news for the football club. It is hoped that we can follow this up with an increase in standing orders and membership numbers."
Prospective members can join the Trust or make a donation online by visiting:
January 23, 2007